Sportsbook operators, the Connecticut Lottery is now a free agent. Now is your opportunity to get into the regulated Connecticut gambling industry as Rush Street Interactive has announced its intention to bow out later this year.
There’s no firm timeline for when Rush Street will shut down its PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook in the state. That will depend on how quickly the Lottery finds a replacement. In turn, the level of interest among other sportsbooks will influence that decision.
Rush Street bows out of Connecticut gambling
Rush Street has offered its PlaySugarHouse-branded online sportsbook in Connecticut through its partnership with the Lottery since October 2021. Additionally, nine physical sports betting venues have opened under the same name in that time.
The Connecticut Lottery intends to continue offering such opportunities to bet on sports according to a Monday press release. However, it will soon no longer be via SugarHouse. The release says that the two companies are winding down their partnership.
The Lottery states it expects to transition its sports betting operations to a new partner in the second half of 2023. Until then, SugarHouse will continue as it has in the state. So far, there have been no confirmed reports about which companies, if any, are interested in taking Rush Street’s place.
There are many possibilities, though.
Which sportsbooks might look to get into Connecticut?
DraftKings and FanDuel are already in the state. They are the online gambling partners of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe, respectively. Those tribal authorities operate the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut.
Right now, those are the only other online gaming companies active in the state besides SugarHouse. Thus, there is quite a list of online sportsbook operators that are on the outside looking in right now. That includes but is not limited to:
From one perspective, the Lottery seems to be in an enviable position. It holds the keys to one of only three opportunities to offer online sports betting in Connecticut. Barring some breakdown of the relationships between the tribal authorities and their partners, it’s also the only such opportunity that is available.
However, the press release suggests that the opportunity might not be all that lucrative. Rush Street Interactive CEO Richard Schwartz commented on the reason for the departure in the release.
“We thank the CLC for their partnership over the last two years,” Schwartz stated. “We are proud of what we have accomplished together in Connecticut and have enjoyed the relationships that we have built with the players. Consistent with our long-term strategic goals, after much deliberation and discussions with the CLC, we believe it is in the best interest of RSI and our stockholders to wind down this partnership.”
Additionally, a partnership with the Lottery only affords a gambling company the right to offer sports betting in Connecticut. The Lottery does not have a license to offer online casino games like the two tribal casinos do.
With Connecticut’s relatively small population and the presence of industry titans like DraftKings/FanDuel, the Lottery can present a limited opportunity. It is an opportunity, nonetheless.